Winter is here and so are deadlines for coursework. During this stressful period it is important that you occasionally raise your head from the books and do the unthinkable – take a break.
This may be the last thing on your priority list right now, but exercise can relieve stress levels and boost overall mood by increasing the production of endorphins. These neurotransmitters can help re-charge you at those points when it is tempting to throw your hands up and give up on ever graduating.
If you don’t want to spend hours at the gym, there are other exercises you can more easily implement into your busy schedule.
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Live somewhere off campus? Instead of taking the bus to University, put on your trainers and walk, or even jog, there.
What To Do
This might actually turn into quite a good workout if you put on a backpack with a couple of heavy books and walk quickly. Whilst you may not want to show up to a seminar red-faced and sweaty, increasing your heart rate before you study is a great way to get into a more focussed state.
If there is a sports park or gym at campus with available showers, you can always pop over to use the facilities before your classes start. Many lawyers in the real world do this before work as it’s a greta way to get in some exercise in the working day.
Why To Do It
Burning off your inner restlessness before arriving at university will increase productivity and set you up for a good day.
In any way, introducing daily movement like this will do wonders for your well-being and fitness as well as giving you the pleasant feeling that you have done more with your day than simply sitting at a desk.
You might be studying in a place, like the library, where it’s hard to build up a sweat. However, when you’ve spent the last hour scrolling through Instagram as opposed to taking notes from your textbook, it is obvious that it’s time to get up and move about. Yoga is a great way to expel some energy without having to find somewhere with a large amount of open space or equipment.
What To Do
For a small break, find yourself a secluded corner in the library (or hide behind a book shelf if you find it a bit awkward) and sit down with your feet stretched in front of you. Bend forward and inhale for four seconds and exhale for six.
Move on to Child’s Pose and keep focusing on your breathing. Hold the pose for a minute or two before moving on to the Bridge Pose. This is where you lie down on your back, place your feet on the floor and hold your back up. Remember to keep focusing on your breathing.
Physically stretching your body in between long study sessions will help combat aches and pains that come from sitting in one position for long periods of time.
Mentally, yoga does wonders too, which is often achieved through the power of breathing. Research has found that exhaling longer than inhaling calms your central nervous system and forces your brain to take a break from overthinking about a range of different things.
Hate running and not enthused by the prospect of doing yoga in the library? Then an even simpler exercise that’ll help you destress is simply standing.
What To Do
To get as much activity in your day as possible, the NHS recommend to:
Stand on the bus
Take the stairs instead of lifts
Get up every 30 minutes and move your body for a couple of minutes (one genius move is setting up daily reminders on your phone)
Get moving by grabbing a coffee or tea every now and then
Swap your passive relaxation time in favour of finding a more active hobby
Now, I’m not saying that you should delete your Netflix account but you could start by replacing some of your TV time with an activity like walking around whilst listening to an interesting podcast.
What you can do is to place your laptop on the window edge or on top of a tall table and stand whilst you are working. I am not saying that you have to stand there all day, but even replacing some of the time you sit by standing has a positive effect.
Because of our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, a lot of research is currently being conducted on the link between sitting too much and ill health. Scientists recommend to break up sitting time by standing up and moving as it engages our muscles and bones and gives our body an energy boost. Even breaking up study sessions by moving for one to two minutes after every 30-minutes working can have a beneficial effect.
This is important because it helps combat the sluggish feeling you get from sitting, which can contribute to feelings of being stressed.
Invest in your wellbeing by setting aside a couple of minutes throughout the day to incorporate some physical activity. Any form of physical exercise can act as a stress reliever, which is something law students often need.
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